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Leon's big night backs Wright in Red Sox's win

August 5, 2016

LOS ANGELES -- Designated hitter David Ortiz was confined to the dugout and Dustin Pedroia left with a shin contusion but that didn't stop the Red Sox on Friday night, as Steven Wright lobbed a three-hitter and Sandy Leon drove in four runs in a 9-0 Interleague win over the

LOS ANGELES -- Designated hitter David Ortiz was confined to the dugout and Dustin Pedroia left with a shin contusion but that didn't stop the Red Sox on Friday night, as Steven Wright lobbed a three-hitter and Sandy Leon drove in four runs in a 9-0 Interleague win over the Dodgers.
The Dodgers had no answer for the knuckleball of Wright (13-5), who struck out nine in his first career shutout.
"Regardless of who we threw out there, right-hander or left-hander, every guy said the ball was really moving," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "He was changing speeds, doing everything he could to be effective. When a knuckleballer is on, it's going to be tough, in a dome inside, outside. Tonight was ideal conditions and he was throwing with velocity, throwing it up early and later taking velocity off and keeping it down. Tonight you've got to give credit to Steven Wright and we've got to turn the page and get ready for tomorrow."

"If you get the opportunity to go out there and throw nine, it is awesome. It is an honor. Being over 100 pitches, it is awesome that John [Farrell] let me go out of there," Wright said. "To throw a complete game is awesome. It is so hard to do at this level."
Dodgers starter Scott Kazmir (9-5), charged with four runs in 5 1/3 innings, allowed home runs to Mookie Betts and Leon.
"I just didn't pitch well. I was erratic," said Kazmir, who has consecutive losses for the first time this season. "They were hitting mistakes."
Travis Shaw, who replaced Pedroia, homered off Jesse Chavez in a five-run eighth inning. The Dodgers have lost three of their last four and lead the National League Wild Card race by two games.

"It was good to see the offense come to life. It wasn't really a game that was out of control until the eighth," Red Sox manager Farrell said. "I thought we executed things well and we ran the bases well. To see some production up and down the lineup was very encouraging."
"They're just a very good hitting club." said Roberts. "They made us pay for some mistakes and the game got away from us."
Wright stuff: The knuckleballer mystified the Dodgers for his fourth career complete game. After allowing a double to Justin Turner in the first inning, Wright retired 19 of the next 20 batters before allowing a single to Yasmani Grandal in the eighth.

"The efficiency to the knuckleball was great. He had a very good touch and feel and it never really got away from him," Farrell said. "He repeated his delivery. He was in complete control." More »
But in the second inning ... Kazmir came into the game having allowed 19 runs in 21 first innings. He got past the first inning unscatched in this one, then allowed runs in the second, third and fourth innings.
"Looking back, the pitches to Leon, it could have been a different ballgame," said Kazmir. "The first at-bat, the pitch was low and in when it should have been up and away, and he hit it for a sac fly. The home run, a cutter in the same spot. The game plan was to stay out of that location and I just didn't. Very frustrating."

Not hit by pitch: Plate umpire Jim Wolf would not award Joc Pederson first base after one of Wright's knuckleballs hit his right leg during an eighth-inning at-bat. Wolf determined that Pederson intentionally moved his leg into the path of the pitch.

Leon lights-out: Leon tied a career high with four RBIs, knocking in runs on a sac fly in the second inning, a two-run home run in the fourth and an RBI single in the eighth. Leon has now hit safely in six of his last eight games.
"He is extremely confident right now. It's been from both sides of the plate. That speaks volumes to the swing he has," Farrell said. "A guy who was in Spring Training and not really on our depth chart, but to see how he's emerged due to injuries and inconsistency, Sandy has really stepped in and taken over behind the plate."

"Watching Dodgers games is what I did growing up. To have the opportunity to pitch here was fun and the first shutout is icing on the cake." -- Wright, who grew up in Moreno Valley
Josh Reddick is still looking for his first hit as a Dodger, now 0-for-12 after going 0-for-4 against Wright with his first two strikeouts since the trade.
Before the start of Friday's game, the Dodgers celebrated Ortiz's career with a video tribute narrated by Vin Scully. Ortiz was then joined on the field by former teammates Nomar Garciaparra, Adrián González and Dave Roberts and presented a check worth $10,000 to The David Ortiz Children's Fund.
"It's hard to talk about his impact, obviously for New England and the Red Sox, for minorities in the game. He's a role model for so many, mentor to so many. You talk about players now, everyone who's been in contact with him, he's impacted in some way," Roberts said. "The vibrant personality, the toughness, he's just easygoing but performs on the biggest of stages. David has been a huge ambassador for the game."

Red Sox: Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez, who starts Saturday's 4:10 p.m. ET contest, has been on a roll since being recalled July 16. Rodriguez has tossed at least five innings and has a 2.63 ERA in his last four starts. He allowed one run on three hits in 6 1/3 innings for the no-decision Monday against the Mariners.
Dodgers:Ross Stripling, who opened the season as the fifth starter because of injuries to others, is back in the role as sub for the injured Bud Norris in Saturday's 1:10 p.m. PT start. Stripling last pitched 3 2/3 innings of relief Sunday against Arizona and was charged with two earned, but defensively tainted, runs.
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Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for since 2001.

Quinn Roberts is a reporter for and covered the Red Sox on Friday.